On the Table MKE sparks community action – Greater Milwaukee Foundation funds projects, releases 2018 report

Milwaukee, Wis., March 21, 2019 – Youth-led discussions on mental health. Building unity, empathy and opportunity through performing arts. Breaking down stereotypes among high school students. Mothers organizing neighborhood clean-ups. These are among sixteen unique projects originating from 2018 On the Table MKE conversations that received funding from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.

Led by the Foundation, On the Table MKE is a collection of collaborative conversations held throughout the community on a single day in October. The inclusive initiative is designed to build relationships and generate action on issues that matter in people’s lives. Thousands of people across the region participated in 2018, the initiative’s second year.

The opportunity to earn funding for a project through On the Table MKE was new last year, and through its "Ideas to Action" program, the Foundation invested a total of $25,000 in proposals to strengthen the community and deepen civic involvement.

A description of all 16 projects can be found in the Foundation’s 2018 Voices from the Tables report. (PDF attached) Many are taking place this spring.



Matters of race, equity and inclusion were the most frequent topics explored at tables last year, according to a survey of 2018 participants. The subject was discussed at 77 percent of tables.

The top four topical areas were:

  1. Race, Racism, Segregation, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion
  2. Community Vitality, Community Engagement, Community Involvement
  3. Education, Schools, Youth
  4. Health, Health Care, Human Services

Overall, On the Table MKE conversations covered a wide range of themes raised by table hosts and community members. See the full report for the 10 most prevalent subjects and detailed themes.

Other key findings from On the Table MKE 2018:

  • Conversations took place at over 160 locations
  • Participants were from at least 61 unique ZIP codes
  • 99 percent would participate again
  • 86 percent felt their table bridged a social divide in a meaningful way
  • 90 percent planned to take action as a result of their conversation


"Through On the Table MKE, our community proclaimed its courage, its resilience and its innovation," said Ellen Gilligan, Foundation president and CEO. "Thank you to every person who greeted their neighbors with open arms and open minds. The human connections we’ve made with one another will power the ideas we’ve developed together to make greater Milwaukee the home we all want it to be."

About the Greater Milwaukee Foundation

The Greater Milwaukee Foundation is the region’s largest community foundation and was among the first established in the world. For more than a century, the Foundation has inspired philanthropy by connecting generous people to community needs that align with their interests. The Foundation was founded on the premise that generosity can unlock an individual’s potential and strengthen the community as a whole for everyone who lives here. We work in partnership with those who are committed to ensuring greater Milwaukee is a vibrant, economically thriving region that comprises welcoming and inclusive communities providing opportunity, prosperity and a high quality of life for all.

greatermilwaukeefoundation.org | @GrMKEFdn | facebook.com/GreaterMilwaukeeFoundation